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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. EDA Partners with Portland State University to Develop Economic Tool to Assess Impact of Economic Development Activities

Triple Bottom Line Metric Includes Environmental and Social Variables

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) today announced a $495,000 grant to Portland State University in Portland, Ore., to develop and disseminate triple bottom line metrics for economic development practitioners and policymakers.

The triple bottom line concept expands on the traditional methods for assessing the impact of development activities in a region to include environmental and social variables as well as economic inputs. While the triple bottom line concept is becoming increasingly more common among corporations to assess their bottom line, it is still rarely used by local jurisdictions to determine the impact of economic development efforts.

"A metric for identifying the impacts of economic development initiatives on regional economies is essential to strengthening our nation's competitiveness," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez. "This EDA grant will enable policymakers and practitioners to effectively understand how to assess the triple bottom line of various economic development activities."

"Communities across the country are searching for ways to better understand the yields of economic development investment. This project puts a sorely needed tool into the hands of practitioners," said Janet Hammer, Director of The Initiative on Triple Bottom Line Development in Portland State University's College of Urban and Public Affairs, and Project Director for this effort. "The project will create a user-friendly tool to evaluate the triple bottom line of investment options. By considering the environmental, social, and financial yields of economic development choices, communities can invest more strategically to support community quality of life goals."

Triple bottom line accounting considers not only economic costs and advantages to a region, but environmental and social impacts as well. Portland State University's research will make the concept useful to local governments through an interactive, web-based tool and a final published report.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov): This year, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) marks 45 years of public service, with a mission of leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. EDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that partners with distressed communities throughout the United States to foster job creation, collaboration and innovation.